Camp Amato: Wednesday News and Notes

RALEIGH, NC -- Amato's thoughts on today's practice, the offensive line, and other notes are highlighted today.

Offense Excels In Morning Practice
With an early morning practice due to expected thundershowers this afternoon, NC State encountered some muggy weather in its first day in full pads.

"First day of pads... nothing was live, but the pads got the best of them," Chuck Amato said. "It was nasty... muggy and hot."

Although the team will not practice "live" until tomorrow, it appears the offense had its way with the defense, what is perceived to be the strength of NC State's team, today.

"The offense did some good things today," said Amato. "The defense couldn't stop anybody today."

When asked if he took that as a positive, Amato, a defensive-minded coach who always prefers a strong defensive unit, didn't seem to really know at this point.

"I don't know," Amato said. "I don't know. I don't like it. I like it for the offense."

With early success, quarterback Jay Davis and the offense can develop some much-needed confidence heading into the season opener against a tough Virginia Tech squad.

Chemistry The Key?
It is always great to have a strong group of returning offensive linemen back, but if those guys can't stay healthy it really won't matter in the long run because the overall chemistry of the line is so important to the success it will have.

What one area would Amato like to see improve along his offensive line?

"The chemistry," said Amato. "We were getting that last year, in fact we had it. Then it was bam, bam, bam. [Derek] Morris went down, Jed [Paulsen] went down, we move this guy over there and Leroy [Harris] goes down. Then Chris Colmer with the shoulder."

NC State battled a rash of injuries last year and some feel that led to the late-season struggles of the offense.

"Neither tackle played seven full games all year," said Amato. "It's a shame because they were coming together. There was so much chemistry up there. There was so much communications up there in that offensive line.

"You can't imagine how much they need to communicate with each other, and if you take one slot out of it, it makes things go haywire. That's the biggest thing."

With seventeen scholarship offensive linemen and six returning players who started ACC games last year, NC State has the numbers to form a strong offensive line. Now it is just a matter of finding the five best players up front and getting the chemistry developed before Virginia Tech comes to Raleigh.

Miller Makes Move
Redshirt freshman Gerard Miller switched to offensive line this fall after redshirting at defensive tackle last season. So far, he's happy about the move.

"It's going good so far," Gerard Miller said. "There's a lot of stuff to learn as far as playbooks and how to position your body.

"I love defense, but I want to play. After a while you can't just look out for yourself. This will help the team out.

The transition hasn't been easy for Miller, and he will be the first to admit that.

"It's been way tougher than I thought it would be," he said. "On defense you just come off the line and hit somebody. It's not like playing offense in high school where you see someone across from you and you knock them down. Sometimes you can't just block your man because you're working as a team up there. It's way tougher than I thought it would be."

Will the switch to offensive guard be permanent for Miller, who came to NC State out of Vanceboro (NC) as one of the state's top defensive line prospects two years ago.

"They are going to try me out for a couple of weeks, but the way it looks now I'm probably going to stay on offense. I'm just going to try and work hard and keep getting better because it's not as easy as I thought it would.

"The coaches have said they want to get me on the field this year. It's basically like getting a couple of snaps on defense or a lot of snaps on offense. That's what it comes down to."

Parting Shots
NC State will have its first two-a-day practice tomorrow. The team will practice Friday and Saturday before Sunday's annual "Meet The Pack Day." This year the Wolfpack will once again hold the "Day of Champions," a strength and conditioning exhibition, at 2:00 after meeting with the media at noon.

Following the "Day of Champions" will be an autograph session for Wolfpack fans.

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